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DeWine’s ease of COVID restrictions brings out range of emotions in restaurant, entertainment industries

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – With the exception of “The Cleveland Browns have won the Super Bowl!” there probably won’t be eight words more pleasing to the ears of Ohio’s restaurant operators, entertainment-venue directors and patrons than “It is time to end the health orders.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine uttered those words Wednesday, offering a clearer view of the light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic tunnel. Beginning Tuesday, June 2, with the exception of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the state’s health orders that were put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus will be lifted.

Emotions ranged from owners being excited to those in the music industry who will remain a bit cautious. Many said they still see a step-by-step approach for the time being.

The Winking Lizard Tavern’s John Lane, who has been following the restrictions since the orders were issued more than a year ago, and who has been outspoken about the efforts of responsible restaurants, said: “Good news today. I’m smiling from ear to ear.”

He said he asked at a meeting today with his staff: “OK, just because he lifts the orders, how are people going to feel? It’s still up to our guests and the people who work for us.”

He said if his employees and customers want to continue wearing a mask to feel safe, that’s fine by him. The restaurant hasn’t made a decision on the use of plexiglass and social distancing.

“We might phase it in,” he said. “I think people sitting at the bar don’t care as much about social distancing, so maybe the plexiglass all goes away from there. Maybe we keep some of it in sections of the restaurant for tables for people to still feel safe for a while. It’s a good question. It’s still predicated on how our guests feel.”

While he was pleased with the restrictions being lifted, he said he would like to see the $300 unemployment stimulus payments stopped, something several states said they would halt to spark a return to work. But he said he feels like a “huge weight” has been lifted.

“You’ve got more and more people who are feeling good about going out, and our people on the front lines are having to literally police people to make sure they are wearing a mask and keeping their distance.”

He said it really comes down to two key words: “Personal responsibility.”

“We’re at that point. Everyone can get that vaccine, it’s on you. … If you don’t, you live with the consequences.”

That jibes with what DeWine urged. Lifting the orders doesn’t ensure complete safety, he said. Masks and social distancing remain options for residents to decide.

Lane said he will have a “good handle over the next week or two” about what customers want.

Restaurant customers aren’t the only ones affected by Wednesday’s announcement. Entertainment options like theater and music also will have a familiar world opened to them.

Productions at Cleveland Public Theatre that were shifted outdoors will continue outside, said Raymond Bobgan, the theater’s executive artistic director.

Outdoor shows in July were “in the works already,” Bobgan said. “That would be in compliance with the current guidelines and would create a safe environment.”

That means CPT’s educational programming, teen-job training program and huge fundraiser, Pandemonium on Saturday, Sept. 18, will remain outdoors.

“We were kind of already in that direction,” he said. “We have been hoping to go back to indoor events in October so certainly I am feeling good. … I’m excited to be back. I’m excited we’re going to be able to do the work we’ve been doing. I’m super proud of the work that we’ve been doing in spite of all this. All the online presence we’ve done, the way we’ve been able to turn our classes into virtual classrooms, the way we’ve been able to do programming that have received not only local but national attention.

“I don’t think people are going to be super excited about going inside anyways,” he said. “I think people have been cooped up in their houses … and people are going to be excited about seeing theater outside anyways.”

But in the end, Bobgan hasn’t lost an intrinsic focus of what theater is all about.

“We all live to be live and in person,” he said. “That’s the whole point of theater.

“We’re going to open our season with the same show that we closed during the COVID closure,” added. “So, we’re going to open up right where we left off.” That show is Nikkole Salter’s “Breakout Session,” “a beautiful and hilarious play” inspired by the effects of the consent decree between Cleveland and the Department of Justice.

But some in the music-venue world will continue taking a cautious approach.

It’ll take local music venues some time to inch back to normalcy. Grog Shop owner Kathy Blackman said she will continue to host socially distanced, reduced-capacity shows at least for the next few weeks.

“We’ve just started reopening, we’re two weeks into it,” she said. “I think, at least through the next month or so, I’m going to stick with what we have already scheduled. People booked, people bought their tickets, with that understanding. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable, or my staff, or patrons, would be comfortable just yet, with a packed room.”

Blackman said she’d take a “wait-and-see” approach, watching vaccine numbers and how DeWine’s order rolls out. In the meantime, she will stay with the National Independent Venue Association’s “Safe In Sound” checklist for reopening entertainment spaces. The checklist covers physical distancing, air circulation, temperature checks, face coverings, touchless appliances and cleaning.

The Grog Shop and its basement B-Side Lounge space in Cleveland Heights are focusing on local shows with reduced capacity.

“We were so thoughtful and careful about opening after all this time,” Blackman said. “We have a really good plan in place, so I think we’ll stick with it for now.”

Detroit-Shoreway restaurant and venue Happy Dog isn’t open, but when it does open this summer, it will also follow the NIVA checklist for venues, owner Sean Watterson said.

“Those guidelines were developed with constant input and feedback from the CDC,” Watterson said. “I think they’re really thoughtful guidelines, and I think a lot of clubs will look to those.”

In the meantime, he echoed DeWine’s sentiment, hoping more Ohioans will get the vaccine.

“I’m glad the governor spent so much time and focus on encouraging people to get vaccinated, because that’s what will make coming back a reality. I’m glad he specifically said businesses can hold to a standard, to protect their customers and their employees.”

When Happy Dog reopens this summer, it’ll do so with reduced capacity.

“We are never going to be a light switch. This is a machine that takes time to ramp up. The shows that did get put out on the calendar for June 2 and later, while the restrictions may be lifted now, the tickets were sold under different rules. People may need to be reminded of that as health orders change. It’ll create questions for folks. That’s because we have to book and sell tickets weeks and months in advance. It’s just another thing worth highlighting – one of the challenges our industry faces coming back online.”

DeWine’s announcement set some plans in motion for Elevation Group, the organization behind WonderStruck music festival in Northeast Ohio (July 24-25) and WonderBus music festival in Columbus (Aug. 28-29).

Elevation Group president Denny Young said more tickets will go on sale to both festivals soon – meaning customers on WonderStruck’s waitlist will have the opportunity to get passes to the festival, which had previously sold out of its limited capacity run.

“That waitlist has over 3,000 people on it, which is pretty amazing. Those people will have the opportunity between now and midnight on this coming Monday [May 17] to fill out their order forms and return those to us,” Young said. “We will fulfill all of the orders we’ve received throughout the day on Tuesday, and at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, whatever tickets remain, will be put on sale to the general public.”

Young said he’s not bringing either WonderStruck or WonderBus to full capacity, and will instead operate both festivals at 80% capacity, regardless of DeWine’s announcement.

“We want to have room and space; we’re not going to burst at the seams,” Young said. “It’s a really important year to get people back out, to get people comfortable, to build confidence. For those that want to get into the action up close to a stage, they can have that experience. Those that want to have a little more open space, they can have that experience as well.”

Mark Leddy, co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom, said he anticipates his venue will continue to host its socially distanced, seated table shows as it has since February. Each show sells 16 tickets, with each ticket representing a table that normally seats four.

“We probably will start putting a few more tables in the room, but I doubt we’re going to do anything drastically different in the short term,” Leddy said. “I think we’ll gear up gradually, as our staff is comfortable and as our customers are comfortable.”

June 2 may be too soon for some customers to feel comfortable going back to full capacity, Leddy said.

“I think a slow, deliberate, gradual kind of thing – just seeing how it feels, for a couple of weeks, and then maybe going a little further, and then we go another couple of weeks – that would seem to be a moderate ‘see-how-it-goes’ viewpoint,” Leddy said. “I think we’re going to take it one step at a time.”

John Barker, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Restaurant Association, has watched those steps carefully, seeing the pandemic’s catastrophic effects on its industry over the last 15 months. The easing of the restrictions “is the logical next step in fully reopening our state for Ohio’s businesses and families,” he said in a release issued Wednesday night.

He added: “Eliminating the six-foot social-distancing requirement will enable restaurant, bar and food service operators to return to greater sales capacity for indoor dining, which is critical to our industry’s recovery and profitability. … today’s news and ongoing support from the state, many local communities, and, of course, our customers, give us confidence that brighter days are ahead.”

Scott Kuhn of Driftwood Restaurant Group, whose holdings include Cibreo and Republic Food and Drink in the Playhouse Square area, said, “I’m a little bit on both sides of the fence.”

“It’s exciting news on one hand. On the other you’re going to have customers who want the full experience and you have the industry that doesn’t have the labor force to provide it, and those worlds are going to collide. But ultimately it is good news. It is a positive sign, but our industry has a lot to do to serve the people like they want to serve. It’s a dangerous spot that were in.”

Driftwood’s next step is opening Landerhaven, he said, and events will resume, and he will continue to face the rehiring challenge.

“We’re going to take it one step at a time and be methodical about it, but embrace the good news, but also we still have staff to protect and people’s health – both customers and employees are still at top of our mind.”

It was a combination of factors that led to DeWine’s announcement.

He talked about the anticipation of getting vaccines, which are being disseminated through 1,900 places throughout the state. Cases have dropped in Ohio. More vaccinations have led to signs that the tide has turned for the better, he added. And citing Centers for Disease Control, DeWine said Ohio’s cases per 100,000 have averaged among the lowest of neighboring states.

“What you have done has truly worked,” he said. “Now we have a powerful weapon in beating back this virus.”

Related coverage: Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll lift Ohio public health orders on June 2

Related coverage: 2021 concert guide: Greater Cleveland music venues, festivals adjust to complicated scene during the pandemic

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Entertainment

AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Announces Outstanding Share Count Ahead of July 29, 2021 Shareholder Meeting

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AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Announces Outstanding Share Count Ahead of July 29, 2021 Shareholder Meeting

LEAWOOD, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fulfilling a commitment to release share count data, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AMC) (“AMC” or “the Company”) is today providing the following information:

  • There were 501,780,240 AMC shares outstanding as of June 2, 2021, the record date for the Shareholder Meeting that is scheduled for July 29, 2021.

  • Only the holders of these shares whose trades have settled as of June 2, 2021 are entitled to vote at the Shareholder Meeting. Trading or other transactions relating to the shares, such as share borrowing, derivatives (including options contracts) or short selling, do not impact the number of shares entitled to vote at the Shareholder Meeting.

  • Advance voting for the Annual Shareholder meeting is expected to begin on June 16 and will continue through July 28. The details of proposals up for a vote and procedures for voting will be available in AMC’s proxy statement, a preliminary version of which is being filed today, with the definitive proxy statement expected to be filed on June 16. Shortly thereafter, the proxy and voting materials will be mailed or emailed to individual investors known to AMC, and to brokerage firms holding shares on behalf of investors in street name. Such investors are encouraged to reach out to their brokers in the latter part of June or early in July if proxy materials have not yet been forwarded to them by their brokers.

  • The share count presented above includes those shares held by both domestic and international investors. AMC has been informed that certain international brokerage houses may restrict international investors’ ability to cast their votes. Affected international investors may wish to seek out other brokers who do facilitate shareholder voting for future elections.

  • AMC expects to receive an approximate count of the number of individual shareholders whose trades have settled as of June 2 and will release this information as soon as it is available, which is currently anticipated to be no later than June 9.

  • The Company does not record or have access to information regarding any share lending or short selling transactions other than what is publicly available from third party providers.

  • AMC has received a number of inquiries regarding so-called synthetic shares and fake shares. AMC has no reliable information about this, therefore we can make no comment in this regard. AMC only maintains records regarding the shares it has legally issued and which are outstanding.

  • The Company has received a number of inquiries regarding speculation about a potential split or reverse split of our stock. A stock split or reverse stock split is not a capital raising transaction and therefore does not achieve the aims of bolstering our liquidity or providing proceeds for other transactions. AMC has no plans to propose or take any actions regarding a stock split or reverse stock split, and in any event such actions would require shareholder approval.

  • AMC understands that there is considerable trading in derivatives on the Company’s stock including both put and call options. These derivative securities can have the effect of increasing the volatility of AMC’s share price, and while they can be structured to replicate the economics of owning or short selling real AMC shares, they carry no voting rights.

About AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.

AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the United States, the largest in Europe and the largest throughout the world with approximately 950 theatres and 10,500 screens across the globe. AMC has propelled innovation in the exhibition industry by: deploying its Signature power-recliner seats; delivering enhanced food and beverage choices; generating greater guest engagement through its loyalty and subscription programs, web site and mobile apps; offering premium large format experiences and playing a wide variety of content including the latest Hollywood releases and independent programming. For more information, visit www.amctheatres.com.

Website Information

This press release, along with other news about AMC, is available at www.amctheatres.com. We routinely post information that may be important to investors in the Investor Relations section of our website, www.investor.amctheatres.com. We use this website as a means of disclosing material, non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD, and we encourage investors to consult that section of our website regularly for important information about AMC. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this document. Investors interested in automatically receiving news and information when posted to our website can also visit www.investor.amctheatres.com to sign up for email alerts.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

This communication may be deemed solicitation material in respect of the Annual Meeting of stockholders (the “Annual Meeting”) of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (“AMC” or the “Company”). This communication does not constitute a solicitation of any vote or approval. In connection with the Annual Meeting, the Company plans to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and mail or otherwise provide to its stockholders a proxy statement regarding the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. The Company may also file other documents with the SEC regarding the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. This document is not a substitute for the proxy statement or any other document that may be filed by the Company with the SEC.

BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, THE COMPANY’S STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED BY THE COMPANY WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING OR INVESTMENT DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING.

Stockholders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement and other documents the Company files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. The Company makes available free of charge on its investor relations website at www.investor.amctheatres.com copies of materials it files with, or furnishes to, the SEC.

Participants in the Solicitation

The Company and its directors, executive officers and certain employees and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s stockholders in connection with the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. Security holders may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of the Company’s directors and executive officers in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, which was filed with the SEC on March 12, 2021 (the “2021 Form 10-K”). To the extent the holdings of the Company’s securities by the Company’s directors and executive officers have changed since the amounts set forth in the Company’s 2021 Form 10-K, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC.

Forward Looking Statements

This communication includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. In many cases, these forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “indicates,” “projects,” “goals,” “objectives,” “targets,” “predicts,” “plans,” “seeks,” and variations of these words and similar expressions. Examples of forward-looking statements include statements we make regarding the impact of COVID-19, future attendance levels and our liquidity. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements related to AMC’s current expectations regarding the performance of its business, financial results, liquidity and capital resources, and the impact to its business and financial condition of, and measures being taken in response to, the COVID-19 virus, and are based on information available at the time the statements are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks, trends, uncertainties and other facts that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks, trends, uncertainties and facts include, but are not limited to, risks related to: AMC’s ability to obtain additional liquidity, which if not realized or insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that will be required unless it is able to achieve more normalized levels of operating revenues, likely would result in AMC seeking an in-court or out-of-court restructuring of its liabilities; the potential impact of AMC’s existing or potential lease defaults; the impact of the COVID-19 virus on AMC, the motion picture exhibition industry, and the economy in general, including AMC’s response to the COVID-19 virus related to suspension of operations at theatres, personnel reductions and other cost-cutting measures and measures to maintain necessary liquidity and increases in expenses relating to precautionary measures at AMC’s facilities to protect the health and well-being of AMC’s customers and employees; AMC’s significant indebtedness, including its borrowing capacity and its ability to meet its financial maintenance and other covenants; the manner, timing and amount of benefit AMC receives under the CARES Act or other applicable governmental benefits and support; the impact of impairment losses; motion picture production and performance; AMC’s lack of control over distributors of films; intense competition in the geographic areas in which AMC operates; increased use of alternative film delivery methods or other forms of entertainment; shrinking exclusive theatrical release window; AMC Stubs A-List not meeting anticipated revenue projections; general and international economic, political, regulatory and other risks; limitations on the availability of capital; AMC’s ability to refinance its indebtedness on favorable terms; availability of financing upon favorable terms or at all; risks relating to impairment losses, including with respect to goodwill and other intangibles, and theatre and other closure charges; and other factors discussed in the reports AMC has filed with the SEC. Should one or more of these risks, trends, uncertainties or facts materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by the forward-looking statements contained herein. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. For a detailed discussion of risks, trends and uncertainties facing AMC, see the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s 2021 Form 10-K filed with the SEC, and the risks, trends and uncertainties identified in its other public filings. AMC does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update any information contained herein to reflect future events or circumstances, except as required by applicable law.

Category: Company Release

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FieldhouseUSA Opens at Polaris Fashion Place® Bringing a Major Sports Entertainment Complex to Central Ohio

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FieldhouseUSA Opens at Polaris Fashion Place® Bringing a Major Sports Entertainment Complex to Central Ohio

Washington Prime Group Inc. (NYSE: WPG) today announced that FieldhouseUSA recently opened its state-of-the-art 90,000 SF complex at Polaris Fashion Place®. A community based, multi-purpose indoor facility that offers a variety of sporting activities, and skill levels, where everyone has a place to play. FieldhouseUSA provides an experience of a lifetime for all who enter.

FieldhouseUSA Columbus features:

  • Year-round play in team sports such as basketball and volleyball;

  • Eight hardwood volleyball courts, which can be converted to five basketball courts, powered by Mintonette Sports and offering year-round leagues, training programs, camps and more;

  • Year-round cheer and tumble programs;

  • Airhouse Adventure Park featuring trampolines, dodgeball, active play, and climbing elements;

  • Youth programs, all-sports camps, and lock-ins;

  • Program and conference space;

  • Birthday parties and corporate events;

  • Wrap around spectator bar seating with electrical outlets throughout;

  • Spacious parking, and

  • Easy access to shopping, dining, and entertainment at Polaris Fashion Place.

Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group stated: “As you all know, I tend to become really excited when a new tenant partner becomes part of the Washington Prime Group family. Just imagine my ecstatic exuberance when a world class athletic venue focusing upon team-oriented sporting events and tournaments (and a whole lot more) catering to all ages opens for business within one of our assets.”

“Furthermore, and at the risk of needing a cold shower to reduce my escalating body temperature, what if I were to tell you this location is estimated to attract ~1.5M guests (not a typo) per annum,” Conforti added. “I am truly thrilled to welcome FieldhouseUSA to Columbus and it’s not only because they provide a differentiated and dynamic complement which is symbiotic to Polaris Fashion Place’s existing tenancy. They also have a senior management team which is comprised of consummate professionals and who, by the way, are some of the finest folks I’ve ever met.”

FieldhouseUSA Columbus hosts a wide range of events and tournaments, which cater to the select, club and recreational teams across the U.S. These tournament series generate sales tax dollars annually and will have a major economic impact for Columbus and surrounding areas. FieldhouseUSA Columbus looks to average over 1.5M visitors annually and is geared for both recreational and competitive athletes. FieldhouseUSA Columbus is expected to draw a significant increase in annual visitors, benefitting existing tenants and generating strong future leasing demand for both retail and mixed uses at Polaris Fashion Place.

“We are pleased to bring this incredible opportunity to both Polaris Fashion Place, as well as the neighboring communities. Residents will enjoy an exceptional multi-purpose indoor sports adventure EXPERIENCE and all of the amenities and privileges of a state-of the-art facility,” comments Gary L. Oliver, a Principal and CEO of FieldhouseUSA. “We want to thank our partner Washington Prime Group once again and those involved in bringing this facility to life and on behalf of my partners, Terry Casey, John Vines and Adam Bishop we look forward to serving the Columbus community for many years to come.”

Oliver added, “We are extremely pleased to add Mintonette Sports to our team as a permanent partner inside the Columbus Fieldhouse facility as they bring an instant following in the Columbus market with a 24-year track record in youth sports.” Along with other FieldhouseUSA partners Mintonette Sports will host a variety of events throughout the year, including tournaments, leagues, training programs, camps, practices and other hard-court programs.

FieldhouseUSA will also provide other amenities inside the Polaris location including a cheer and tumble program, a child development training center focused on mental, physical & character development for ages walking through 18 years old as well as the Airhouse Adventure Park featuring more than 30,000 SF of trampolines, Xtreme Dodgeball, Battle Beam, Log Roll, Bouldering Wall, Racing Zipline, Valo Jump, Basketball, Aero Strike, Wipeout, Ninja Course, Soft Play, and numerous Climbing Elements. In the continued need to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Airhouse Adventure Park will have a delayed opening and is expected to welcome guests in the summer of 2021.

Todd Christian, Director of Operations of Airhouse commented: “Airhouse Adventure Park is wAIR your next great adventure begins. I am excited to engage this great community of Columbus, Ohio and its surrounding cities in a fun, safe and sanitized adventure park. We look forward to bringing your friends and family together to celebrate birthdays or other fun occasions with us in one of our party rooms. I am eager to get involved with the local schools and communities, to bring them into our adventure park for some of our fun and friendly activities such as our Ropes Course, Ninja Course and my favorite, Xtreme Dodgeball. I am confident that our beautiful Columbus location will provide more than just an indoor adventure park for everyone to enjoy year-round, but also great memories to share for years to come. I see a great future for Airhouse Adventure Park as we aim to build more locations, bring employment to more cities around the U.S., and strengthen our communities one location at a time.”

Polaris Fashion Place and FieldhouseUSA remain focused on providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. FieldhouseUSA will operate in accordance with CDC guidelines and federal, state and local regulations, recommendations and mandates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. FieldhouseUSA’s rigorous disinfectant and cleaning practices will continue many times per day, including periodically disinfecting areas most susceptible to the spread of germs.

The addition of FieldhouseUSA demonstrates Washington Prime Group’s commitment to the community while illustrating its mandate to diversify tenancy and further solidify the lifestyle center as dominant hybrid town centers offering a dynamic mix of retail, dining, entertainment, sports and wellness options. Investments and improvements made at Polaris Fashion Place provide numerous benefits to the Columbus, Ohio area.

About FieldhouseUSA

FieldhouseUSA has developed and currently operates three facilities, with two more currently under construction. FieldhouseUSA is a multi-purpose indoor facility that offers a variety of sporting activities, and skill levels, where everyone has a place to play while creating an amazing EXPERIENCE for ALL that enter the FieldhouseUSA doors! Learn more at https://fieldhouseusa.com/.

About Washington Prime Group

Washington Prime Group Inc. is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. The Company combines a national real estate portfolio with its expertise across the entire shopping center sector to increase cash flow through rigorous management of assets and provide new opportunities to retailers looking for growth throughout the U.S. Washington Prime Group® and Polaris Fashion Place® are registered trademarks of the Company. Learn more at www.washingtonprime.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which represent the current expectations and beliefs of management of Washington Prime Group Inc. (“WPG”) concerning the proposed transactions, the anticipated consequences and benefits of the transactions and the targeted close date for the transactions, and other future events and their potential effects on WPG, including, but not limited to, statements relating to anticipated financial and operating results, the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, cost savings and other statements, including words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “confident,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “will,” “should,” “may,” and other similar expressions. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of WPG’s management, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of WPG to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation; the Company has determined that there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern; there is no assurance that the Company will be able to reach an agreement in principle regarding a restructuring, comply with the terms of any such agreement or successfully complete a restructuring contemplated thereby, creating substantial doubt about WPG’s ability to continue as a going concern; the Company may seek the protection of a bankruptcy court, which would subject it to the risks and uncertainties associated with bankruptcy and may harm the Company’s business and place its equity holders at significant risk of losing all of their investment in the Company; the Company’s limited liquidity could materially and adversely affect its business operations; changes in asset quality and credit risk; ability to sustain revenue and earnings growth; changes in political, economic or market conditions generally and the real estate and capital markets specifically; the impact of increased competition; the availability of capital and financing; tenant or joint venture partner(s) bankruptcies; the failure to increase store occupancy and same-store operating income; risks associated with the acquisition, disposition, (re)development, expansion, leasing and management of properties; changes in market rental rates; trends in the retail industry; relationships with anchor tenants; risks relating to joint venture properties; costs of common area maintenance; competitive market forces; the level and volatility of interest rates; the rate of revenue increases as compared to expense increases; the financial stability of tenants within the retail industry; the restrictions in current financing arrangements or the failure to comply with such arrangements; the liquidity of real estate investments; the impact of changes to tax legislation and WPG’s tax positions; losses associated with closures, failures and stoppages associated with the spread and proliferation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; to qualify as a real estate investment trust; the failure to refinance debt at favorable terms and conditions; loss of key personnel; material changes in the dividend rates on securities or the ability to pay dividends on common shares or other securities; possible restrictions on the ability to operate or dispose of any partially-owned properties; the failure to achieve earnings/funds from operations targets or estimates; the failure to achieve projected returns or yields on (re)development and investment properties (including joint ventures); expected gains on debt extinguishment; changes in generally accepted accounting principles or interpretations thereof; terrorist activities and international hostilities; the unfavorable resolution of legal or regulatory proceedings; the impact of future acquisitions and divestitures; assets that may be subject to impairment charges; significant costs related to environmental issues; changes in LIBOR reporting practices or the method in which LIBOR is determined; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in WPG’s statements and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those described under “Risk Factors”. The forward-looking statements in this communication are qualified by these risk factors. Each statement speaks only as of the date of this press release and WPG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from current projections, expectations, and plans, if any. Investors, potential investors and others should give careful consideration to these risks and uncertainties.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210603005119/en/

Contacts

Investors: Investor.Relations@washingtonprime.com
Media: Media.Relations@washingtonprime.com

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SeaWorld Entertainment announces key new CEO and CFO appointments

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SeaWorld Entertainment announces key new CEO and CFO appointments
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On May 6, 2021, SeaWorld Entertainment announced the appointment of Marc Swanson as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Treasurer. Swanson was named CEO following his 20-year tenure with the company and after previously serving as Interim CEO. Gulacsy was named CFO and Treasurer after working with the company for eight years. In addition to this previous assignment, Gulacsy will also draw on the experience she built in her term as interim CFO and Treasurer.

SeaWorld Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company focused on “providing experiences that matter” and inspiring “guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of the world.” The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry, and veterinary care. SeaWorld rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned, or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. In collaboration with Busch Gardens, SeaWorld has cared for more than 38,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

Today, SeaWorld owns 12 destination and regional theme parks, which are grouped in key markets across the United States. Additionally, the company owns or licenses a portfolio of iconic brands, including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica, Sesame Place, and Sea Rescue.

The company’s ongoing dedication to its mission, and its implementation of an effective Executive team that collaborates with their Board, has provided a platform for SeaWorld Entertainment to thrive, even through periods of economic uncertainty.

The company recently released its Q1 2021 report, and then-Interim CEO Marc Swanson and Hill Path Capital Founder and Managing Partner and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Scott Ross, disclosed their perspective on what this report, as well as what the promotion of Swanson and Gulacsy, indicates for the future of the company.

Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy Promoted to CFO and Treasurer of SeaWorld Entertainment

Gulacsy recently accepted the title of CFO and Treasurer, which will follow her successful eight years serving the company in numerous leadership positions. She joined the SeaWorld Entertainment team in 2013, initially as Director of Financial Reporting, and was later promoted to Corporate Vice President of Financial Reporting in 2016. Since August 2017, Gulacsy had served as Chief Accounting Officer, except for a period between September 2019 and November 2019, during which, she also served as the Interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer in addition to her role as Chief Accounting Officer.

Before joining the company, Gulacsy worked with Cross Country Healthcare Inc., a leader in providing total talent management, including strategic workforce solutions, contingent staffing, permanent placement, and other consultative services for healthcare clients. She served as the company’s Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller from 2011 to 2013, Director of Corporate Accounting from 2006 to 2011, and Assistant Controller from 2002 to 2006. Prior to that time, Gulacsy was an Audit Manager for Ernst & Young LLP.  She holds both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Florida and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Today, Gulacsy serves as a Board member and Treasurer for the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and is a member of the Audit Committee for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the global professional association for the theme park industry.

Upon accepting her most recent position, Gulacsy discussed the recent efforts the company has made to improve profitability and what she hopes for the future: “We have worked hard over the last few years, including prior to and during the pandemic, to position this company for a significant improvement in profitability.  Our financial position is strong, our strategies are working, our execution is improving, and I look forward to continuing working with our management team and board to fully capitalize on the significant opportunities ahead.”

Marc Swanson Promoted to CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment

Marc Swanson has worked with SeaWorld Entertainment for over twenty years. He joined the team in 2004 as Vice President of Sesame Place. Swanson served as Corporate Controller of Busch Entertainment Corporation from 2008 to 2011 and Performance Management and Corporate Controller of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment from 2011 to 2012. Swanson served as Chief Accounting Officer since 2012, as interim Chief Financial Officer from June 2015 until September 2015, and as interim Chief Executive Officer from August 1, 2017, until his recent permanent appointment. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Purdue University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from DePaul University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Today, Marc Swanson is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Orlando Science Center.

He shared his enthusiasm regarding his new position, stating: “The past year has been a unique and extraordinary period for our company, our industry, and the world. The capabilities of our Management Team combined with the complementary expertise of our Board allowed us to make the innovative and necessary decisions to address an unthinkable and unprecedented reality. Today, we have even more confidence in our long-term strategy, and I look forward to continuing to work with our dedicated team and board to drive long-term value for all stakeholders.”

Marc Swanson Speaks at 2021 IAAPA Virtual Conference

Prior to accepting his permanent appointment as CEO, Swanson was a featured keynote speaker at the IAAPA 2021 Virtual Conference on April 7-8. The event focused on the recovery and resilience of the attractions industry in a post-COVID environment, and Swanson spoke directly on how SeaWorld Entertainment has navigated through the challenges of 2020 and 2021. In his 30-minute speech, “Navigating the Covid-19 Crisis,” he highlighted how the company’s success is attributed to the collaborative efforts of the Management Team and Board members, including Hill Path Capital Founder and Managing Partner and SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Scott Ross.

Swanson recounted, “Our partnership with our Chairman and our other Board members allowed our company to adjust and move forward with more creativity and nimbleness than we had before.” He continued, “Having a large investor on the board allows us to align our goals and move even more confidently and decisively. We were all in this together, and having our leadership team and board in constant communication certainly allowed us to address this crisis head-on.” He added, “That collaboration allowed us to address our operational costs and maximize our financial flexibility, giving us some breathing room to make the difficult decisions with some degree of confidence.”

SeaWorld Entertainment Excited About Recent 2021 Q1 Earning Report

On May 6, 2021, SeaWorld Entertainment released its first-quarter 2021 results.

New CEO Marc Swanson discussed the high points: “Our first quarter events including new or expanded event days at some of our parks as well as several new or reimagined venues which we launched during the quarter and which helped contribute to the increased guest spending,” Swanson said. “We are excited to have experienced a robust Spring Break season across our parks, including several days where our parks reached capacity limitations for the current operating environment. To be clear, we believe our attendance would have been notably higher, were it not for capacity limitations and closed parks.”

The company report included the following key takeaways:

  • First-quarter 2021 peak attendance was 2.2 million guests, a decline of 0.1 million guests, or 4.5%, from the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, attendance declined by 1.1 million guests or 33.7%.
  • Total revenue was $171.9 million, an increase of $18.4 million, or 12.0% from the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, total revenue declined by $48.7 million or 22.1%.
  • Net loss was $44.9 million, an improvement of $11.6 million or 20.6% from the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, net loss increased by $7.9 million or 21.2%.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $25.2 million, an increase of $56.0 million from the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, adjusted EBITDA increased by $8.8 million or 53.4%.
  • Total revenue per capita increased 17.2% to $77.63 from the first quarter of 2020. Admission per capita increased 10.8% to $43.25 while in-park per capita spending increased 26.4% to $34.38 from the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, total revenue per capita increased 17.6%, admission per capita increased 12.0%, while in-park per capita spending increased 25.3%.
  • As of March 31, 2021, the company had approximately $431 million of cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet and approximately $312 million available on its revolving credit facility resulting in total liquidity of approximately $743 million.
  • The company estimates that its average monthly adjusted net cash flow during the quarter was approximately $5.1 million of net positive cash flows, which excludes certain payments to vendors due in and deferred from previous quarters.
  • The company estimates that the average monthly net cash burn during the quarter was approximately $1.1 million when including these deferred payments.
  • As of March 31, 2021, 10 of the Company’s 12 parks were open (which is consistent with the same period in 2019).  Parks continue to operate with capacity limitations and modified/limited operations due to the COVID19 pandemic.
  • In the first quarter of 2021, the company helped rescue over 530 animals, bringing total rescues over its history to more than 38,600.

CEO Marc Swanson shared insight into the recent findings: “Our first quarter financial results continue to demonstrate our ability to strategically operate in the current environment.”

He continued, “I am extremely proud that we not only generated positive adjusted net cash flow during the quarter, but that we also achieved higher adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019. The success of the strategic pricing, marketing, cost, and capital investment initiatives that we developed and had been refining prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the strategies we developed and actions we have taken during the COVID-19 pandemic period helped us deliver meaningfully positive first quarter adjusted EBITDA when compared to the first quarters of both 2020 and 2019. Our pricing and product strategies are clearly working, and our guests are spending more when they visit our parks.”

Moving further into 2021, the SeaWorld Executive team and Board of Directors, including Marc Swanson, Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, and Scott Ross, are looking forward to a year of progress.

Regarding growth and earnings, CEO Swanson said, “We are encouraged by our guests’ desire to visit and spend at our parks and believe this is a good indicator for expected demand during our peak summer season.” He looked forward to the coming season: “We expect that our parks will return to a more normalized operating environment as the year progresses. Despite the progress we have made, we continue to believe there are significant additional opportunities to improve our execution and drive meaningful growth in revenue and adjusted EBITDA when our parks are no longer restricted by capacity limitations and limitations on events.  We are successfully navigating through this extraordinary environment, and we are confident we are emerging an even stronger and more profitable enterprise.”

Scott Ross wrapped up, attributing the company’s success and future prospective growth to the newest members of the SeaWorld Entertainment Executive team: “Over the past year, Marc and Elizabeth, alongside the board, have continued to execute the strategic initiatives we have been working on over the past several years and have taken the necessary decisive actions to position the company for long-term success. We look forward to their continued leadership as we work together to emerge a stronger and more efficient company and realize the full, long term potential of this great company and its irreplaceable assets and brands.”

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